Remember the Coconut Tree

Michael Dale-Asiedu
Published on: 20th November 2013
It is said that what the old can see and comprehend while sitting down, the young cannot come to a minutest grasp of it even when they are on top of an Iroko tree. Wisdom has long been associated with the old. What grandma used to say, somewhat jokingly, years ago finds resounding significance now in my growing years; this is what she used to say many times when she threaded this part of our planet called earth, a true story - "Remember the coconut tree!"

Grandma used to say this every now and then. When there was no food of my choice in my village she would say, "Remember the coconut tree!" When there was chaos, quarrelling and bickering, she would repeat the same words. The sheer significance she attached to those words, only heavens could tell! To me she had said it so often that it had become a default rendition of her very being and existence. When her children, my mum and aunts, who were mostly traders, returned with not so good a sale, she cheered them up saying, "Remember the coconut tree!" When they were minutes away from giving up, "Remember the coconut tree!" never ceased to depart from her lips as if they possessed some magical prowess to lighten their heavy burdens and appease their weary souls instantaneously. It was later in life that I realized the sublime, pear like and profound magnanimity that those words portrayed. The depth of symbolism of those words is beyond measure; far beyond what my frail skills as an upcoming writer can capture. Let's see what "Remember the coconut tree!" meant.
remember the coconut tree,refreshing
The coconut tree is one of the most important crops of the tropics. The slender, leaning, ringed trunk of the tree rises to an appreciable height from a swollen base and is surmounted by a graceful crown of giant, featherlike leaves. Mature fruits, ovoid or ellipsoid in shape; have a thick, fibrous husk surrounding the familiar single-seeded nut of commerce. A hard shell encloses the insignificant embryo with its abundant endosperm, composed of both meat and liquid. Some people believe that coconut palm is the symbol of romance in the tropics.

They use the liquid as a nice refreshing drink. The dried meat of the coconut is called copra. Oil is pressed from copra. Coconut oil has a surprising number of health benefits, from relieving stress to bolstering your immune system. It's rich in the lauric, capric and caprylic acids. These omega-3 fatty acids give it its antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-fungal properties. It can be used to cook food, moisturize skin and treat infections.

Aside the myriad of benefits obtained from the coconut, it also projects varying degrees of symbolism. Ever seen how it sways during windy and stormy periods, yet remains calm in stable weather? In this dispensation it speaks to our very core as earthly beings, the ups and downs of life get to us so much that we fail to even consider and remember that those times too shall pass.

Life at times manhandles us so inhumanely that we fail to realize and foresee that those tempests too will revert and become stable someday, only if we do not weary. In these moments when we trudge rather discouragingly, let us take solace in grandma's words - "Remember the coconut tree!" For no matter the intensity of the storm, it cannot go on forever; the sun will shine again and the coconut tree will regain its cool once again.

Yet the coconut tree, like many other trees, especially when it is not grown for commercial purposes is mostly found alone. In villages, it is mostly used to demarcate one plot of land from the other. In most of these cases, it is planted as a lone and solitary tree. Many a times we find that we need the whole efforts of a group to be able to soar higher. "If you want to go far, go in a group, if you want to go faster go alone", they say. In as much as there is a lot of truth in this adage some decisions ought to be taken alone, that tough career choice, that fruitless relationship that regresses you, the decision ought to be taken albeit by yourself. Like the coconut tree that has solitarily been used for the demarcation purpose you have to take that decision by yourself. You will never walk alone, so goes the Liverpool motto and anthem but sometimes you should ignore the decisions of the crowd and look within because when it is all said and done, none knows you better than you, "Remember the coconut tree!"
The coconut tree also epitomizes life itself, from its fibrous roots depicting its grounded firmness to its refreshing and heart soothing coconut drink. It describes all life could stand for; it flourishes in seasons wet and triumphs in seasons dry. The fruit's resistance and ability to survive floatingly for long periods even in rivers and turbulent oceanic conditions brings to bear its depth in strength of character and willingness to surge on. What is more relevant is that, at tender stages of its fruit, the drink is very sweet but turns otherwise as it matures into the copra state.

There are countless number of journeys we can embark on, nameless daring adventures we can attempt, fail and succeed in our youthful years, but like the coconut drink everything loses its sweetness as it matures. Our strength may fail as we soldier on in life, our youthful exuberance may depart from us but all in all, let us "Remember the coconut tree". When the dry seasons take birth uncharacteristically even in seasons wet, "Remember the coconut tree". When the Godforsaken and ill begotten tsunamis spring forth, "Remember the coconut tree". It is only when our anchor is able to hold firmly like the coconut tree in the storms of life that our ship will not sink nor drift.
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